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CNN NEWSROOM

Valerie Plame Speaks Out; Karl Rove's E-mails Raise Questions; Four Suspects Being Held in Murder of Georgia Boy; Iranians Hoping for Peace when their President Speaks to the U.N. Council; Iraqi War Vet Speaks About Life After Coming Home

Aired March 16, 2007 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, you're with CNN. You're informed. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Heidi Collins. Developments keep coming into the NEWSROOM on this Friday, March 16th. Here's what's on the rundown.

A spy exposed. Minutes ago, she went public. That's a live shot now of Valerie Plame telling Congress about the CIA leak that ended her undercover career.

HARRIS: The U.N. moving toward new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Iran's fiery president planning a face-to-face with the Security Council next week. Live this hour, to Tehran.

COLLINS: Late winter pileup. Snow snarls air travel in the busy northeast corridor, canceling hundreds of flights. Who's flying and who's not? It's up in the air in the NEWSROOM.

An outed CIA operative says her identity was carelessly and recklessly abused. Right now, Valerie Plame is appearing before a House committee to testify about the leak that she says blew her cover and ended her career. Brianna Keilar joining us now live from Capitol Hill with details. And Brianna, I've been watching this as well. It seems there is still a lot of discussion, right now, in fact, about her status.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, whether or not she was covert. Because under the law, a White House official who would reveal her identity would have to know she is covert to be guilty of revealing the fact that she was affiliated with the CIA.

Now, she made it very clear from the very beginning of her testimony. She said right off the top she was grateful for the opportunity to talk to this committee and that "I served as a covert operative in the CIA."

She went on to say that in the run-up to the Iraq war, she was a member of the counterproliferation unit in the CIA dealing with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that she traveled overseas on secret missions.

Some of the debate has been around an act called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, and what is says is that the identity of a CIA agent needs to be protected by law if that agent is covert or if they have been covert within the last five years.

So here she was making it very clear, in the run-up to the Iraq war, this is what I was doing, I was covert, and in 2003, my name was revealed. This was also really interesting, Heidi, to hear her just talk about her personal response to when she first found out her identity as a CIA operative had been revealed.

When asked about her first response, she said her husband dropped the newspaper on the bed and said "He did it." Now, who the "he" is, is unclear at this point. She wasn't asked to clarify. She didn't specify. She said she felt hit in the gut, it was over in an instant and that she immediately feared for her family's safety and for the safety of the agents that she worked with -- Heidi.

COLLINS: It's interesting, too, as we listen to some of this questioning going on, Brianna. One of the points that was brought up is whether or not this is a White House problem or a CIA problem, with direct reference to the Intelligence Identity Protection Act. I wonder, are we going to see more hearings?

KEILAR: There are possibly going to be more hearings. I'm not exactly sure at this point. But that's an interesting point that you make about is this a White House problem or is this a CIA problem?

You probably noticed the person who made that point is a Republican, Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, the ranking member on this committee. He said that I think perhaps this is a CIA problem, not a White House problem. Even in his opening comments, saying, we may be wasting time because there's no one from the CIA talking here.

If it's a CIA problem and they're not addressing it, then we may be talking but we may not be accomplishing anything. Valerie Plame Wilson clearly objected to this point that he made. She repeatedly said that the CIA takes steps to protect its operatives and that she was very upset, especially, by what she's learned in the Scooter Libby trial by how nonchalantly this information about her was tossed about at the White House, if you will.

COLLINS: All right, we are continuing to monitor that. Live picture still up of Valerie Plame. All right, Brianna Keilar, thanks so much.

HARRIS: And we are also monitoring some severe weather in the country, particularly the northeast. Chad Myers is in the Weather Center for us. Chad, good to see you this morning.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: The nation's top prosecutor fighting for his job. Each day, Alberto Gonzales may be closer to losing it. The latest blow from President Bush's top political guru. New e-mails raise the question about Karl Rove's role in the firing of federal prosecutors. Democrats who claim politics are behind the firings are smelling blood. CNN's Kathleen Koch is at the White House. And Kathleen, if you would, what picture is being painted by these e-mails? KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these e-mails -- and, indeed, some of the statements that have been coming out from the White House on this over the last week, are painting a White House where the story certainly seems to be shifting constantly.

And the e-mails paint the picture of the political adviser Karl Rove being more deeply involved than the White House had earlier indicated.

First of all, point one, that the White House has from the beginning has said it was former White House counsel Harriet Miers who came up with the idea not only to fire the eight U.S. attorneys, but, indeed, all 93.

Well, now Press Secretary Tony Snow this morning told reporters he does not know who came up with this idea. The only thing the White House can say with assurances is that Karl Rove remembers Miers raising the idea. Snow saying, quote, "At this juncture, people here have hazy memories."

Now to the e-mails, one that was released yesterday. This e-mail from January 2005. It indicates, again that Rove was involved early on. The e-mail from the White House aide Colin Newman to another aide says, quote, "Rove stopped by to ask you how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys. Allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accepting only some, or selectively replace them?"

And the response that came from Kyle Sampson, very interesting, he's chief of staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and it reads, quote, "The vast majority of U.S. attorneys, 80 to 85 percent, I would guess are doing a great job are loyal Bushies."

Now Sampson, who resigned earlier this week, concludes, say, quote, "If Karl thinks there would be the political will to do it, then so do I."

Now, Democrats are very angry about these e-mails. They read them, again, as indicating that Rove was more deeply involved in these firings earlier than the White House had ever indicated.

But Snow downplayed the e-mails today, saying, quote, "This does not read like someone coming in with an urgent directive, this reads more like questions of going on, not off with their heads."

A couple of other updates. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was expected to go to the Hill soon. We're now hearing from the Justice Department, the latest guide says he won't be going up until probably next week, certainly not before Monday. Also, the latest guidance on will Rove - will Miers testify before Congress as many lawmakers are demanding? White House counsel Fred Fielding has been negotiating with lawmakers on that. We are now hearing from House and Senate Democratic sources that an answer will be delivered to Capitol Hill on that in writing at some point today. Back to you, Tony.

HARRIS: Can't wait. Kathleen Koch for us at the White House. Kathleen, thank you. COLLINS: On Capitol Hill, Democrats face a defeat and another fight over Iraq. In the Senate, Democrats failed to get the votes needed to approve a resolution setting a timetable for troops to leave Iraq. But in the House, a panel approved an emergency spending bill that calls for troops to be out of Iraq by September 2008. The full House votes next week.

HARRIS: More troops headed to Iraq, and they're on the fast track. CNN has learned Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed orders speeding the deployment of up to 3,000 more forces to Iraq. Their main job will be air support for combat forces. This raises the number of additional troops being deployed to Iraq to more than 31,000. That's about 10,000 more than President Bush initially called for. The troops are expected to head to Iraq in May. That is 45 days earlier than planned.

COLLINS: House of widows, where children are without fathers. Victims of Iraqi death squads. We'll get a look at a CNN "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" production coming up in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Friendly fire and a British soldier killed. Today, a ruling that the incident involving U.S. forces in Iraq was unlawful. Details in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Back together, doctor and patient. Our Sanjay Gupta explains to an Iraq war vet how he helped save his life. It's all coming up in the NEWSROOM.

AMANDA ROSSETER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Amanda Rosseter live in Brunswick, Georgia. Four suspects being held in the murder of a 6- year-old boy, including three members of one family. We'll have details ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Let's show you some pictures into CNN just a few moments ago of a White House fence jumper. There he is. As you can see, my goodness, taken into custody very quickly. We understand this happened just a short time ago. And our Kathleen Koch who is covering the White House for us today, actually witnessed this. It happened just a couple moments ago. This man that you will see here in just a moment jumping the fence at the White House. And you could also tell from this shot he was quickly taken into custody. That's all the information we have on this story right now. As we get more information we'll bring it to you.

COLLINS; Travelers in the northeast frozen in their tracks. A brutal winter storm hammering the region just days before spring. Hundreds of flights canceled this hour. And JetBlue has the most, 230 so far, most of them in and out of New York. Northwest has canceled dozens of flights throughout the northeast. Delta also has made some changes to its schedule.

Joining us now by phone, Gary Edwards, the director of operations for Delta's control center. Gary, thanks for being with us. Help us understand there are a lot of people out there who maybe aren't quite so frequent in their travels if you will. What happens when you have cancellations like this? Where do they stem from, even when we're not seeing snow on the ground as of yet?

GARY EDWARDS, DELTA AIR LINES (on phone): Well, thank you. The problem here in the New York storm is that it is actually a combination of sleet and light freezing rain, which due to some legislation and also safety concerns makes it actually illegal to operate. So I understand -- it's difficult to understand when you're in your office in Manhattan and don't see half a foot of snow on the ground...

COLLINS: ... Yes, that's where everybody says.

EDWARDS: But the atmospheric conditions do not allow for operations in these conditions. So we saw this storm coming several days ago. We put about 80 percent of our cancellations in yesterday and were able to proactively contact all of our customers so they're not stranded at the airport.

And no one wants to operate more than us. It is a busy travel weekend with spring break starting. I know we'd rather be in Florida than an ice storm. But unfortunately, that was the hand that was dealt with us. But it's a tough call to make. If you have snow 20 miles from the airport, we can operate. If there's freezing rain and ice pellets at the airport, we can't operate. Unfortunately, that's the situation we have in New York this morning. We're working our way through that.

COLLINS: Excellent understanding now of that. But one more time, are we talking about FAA regulation here, illegal because of these sleet-type conditions?

EDWARDS: It's a standard practice. We have operations. We can operate in snow, we can operate in freezing rain. We have de-icing fluids. And I certainly won't get into the details. But there's any number of ways we can safely operate in these conditions. All the areas do that every day of the year. There are certain conditions in which we cannot operate and we're approaching those conditions now, which is why all the carriers are suspending operations.

COLLINS: It's sometimes hard for people trying to get on their way, especially if you're vacationing and trying to get on your way of relaxing somewhere, to understand that it is about safety.

And mainly, I think they might have trouble with that because they seem to don't understand all the time that there's nothing you can do about the weather by way of correction by the airlines.

People always saying, well, you know, are you going to put me up in a hotel? The weather's bad. I have to sit here for two days. But that's never really the case. It came to light with this new passenger bill of rights, just the last time that this went on with jetBlue.

EDWARDS: Yes, there's a - well, and we've been doing this for a long time, and, you know, we have hurricanes, we have tornados, we have thunderstorms, we have, unfortunately, unfrozen precipitation events.

The only way you can get ahead of it, advise your customers that there's nobody that wants to operate today more than we do, but unfortunately, the conditions do not allow that.

So the only thing we can do is tell everybody in advance that unfortunately it's not going to happen today. Right now, we only have 30 cancellations on the books for tomorrow. We're resetting our airline. So we're going to try to get everybody going tomorrow and definitely by Sunday.

I know there's a lot of pent-up demand in the system because all the other carriers had to do the same thing we do. But we're set -- we're resetting the airline and we'll be back up out of New York by tomorrow.

COLLINS: Go home, get a good night's sleep for everyone who is trying to travel and start all over again tomorrow. All right, Gary Edwards, director of operations for Delta control center - Gary, thanks so much.

HARRIS: And one again, we want to update you on a story from just a couple of moments ago. Michael, let's show these pictures just into CNN a short time ago of this White House fence jumper. He as you can see, taken into custody by the Secret Service. Kathleen Koch covering the White House for us today actually witnessed this. She's on the line with us. Kathleen what did you see?

KOCH: Well Tony, I didn't actually see the gentleman jump the fence. As I was doing my live report for you, I guess it was 10 or 15 minutes ago, I noticed my camera people gesturing wildly while I was talking to you. So I just kept going. But I saw them gesture for other cameramen with CNN to run, grab their cameras and point them to the North Lawn.

And I could hear activity behind me. So as soon as I finished the report, I turned around and I saw a large number of patrol cars right in front of the fence, the North Lawn fence there on Pennsylvania Avenue. A lot of activity. And then very, very shortly, within a matter of seconds, I saw the Secret Service, a uniformed Secret Service agent, with an elderly African-American man, I would guess. I should say middle aged, in his 50s, it looked, very thin man, dressed in black, with his hands behind him.

And escorting him toward the entrance to the gate that we normally come into the White House. The gentleman did not appear to be armed. Again, he had his hands behind him. But I didn't see whether or not a weapon or anything might have been dropped on the North Lawn when he was apprehended or when he climbed over.

Tony, it's important to note this kind of thing happens from time to time at the White House. And as we saw today, the Secret Service generally apprehends these people very quickly.

HARRIS: OK, that's amazing concentration on your part. So you've got all this chaos going on behind you, your second camera is indicating that something's going on. Hands are waving. And yet you're still focused on the report that you were offering up to us about the e-mails connected to the story you've been covering all day.

KOCH: That's how things go here, Tony. Sometime there's a lot of chaos that breaks out around you. And you just have to trust your photographers to alert you whether - certainly some sort of real, huge emergency, something life-threatening, they'll let you know, but we just have to keep doing our job.

Again this kind of thing happens. There will be packages left that some people think might be a bomb outside the White House. So we have a bomb truck that comes and the package is disposed of. So all sorts of things crop up here. We'll have to wait and see from the Secret Service just what this gentleman's motives were.

HARRIS: Yes, and we certainly know that if there were danger to your person, your crew would have cleared you. Kathleen Koch for us this morning from the White House. Kathleen, appreciate it, thank you.

And tears in Brunswick, Georgia today. The body of a 6-year-old boy found alongside a road just three miles from where he disappeared. His father is devastated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BARRIOS, CHRISTOPHER'S FATHER: That's my baby. I just wanted a better outcome. But my baby, he brought this whole community together. And all these volunteers, all of them are like family so -- good things come out of -- out of bad stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP

HARRIS: CNN's Amanda Rosseter has more from Brunswick.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSSETER (voice-over): A week-long search for 6-year-old Christopher Michael Barrios ended suddenly Thursday when a state wildlife official spotted his body off the side of a dead-end road in this wooded area.

MATT DOERING, GLYNN COUNTY, GEORGIA: Thirty minutes ago, about two miles from here, which is further than we thought, Christopher was found.

ROSSETER: Police chief Matt Doering broke the news to dozens of volunteers who spent seven days scouring nearby fields.

DOERING: I'll confirm for you he was not buried as we were told.

ROSSETER; They based their week-long search on information from four suspects, three from one family, 31-year-old George Edenfield was arrested first, rounded up and interviewed because he is a registered sex offender and convicted child molester. He lived with his parents across the street from the Barrios family. His mother, 57-year-old Peggy Edenfield was arrested next for giving police what they call bad leads about where the child was buried. Then the father, 58-year-old David Edenfield, and a family friend, 34-year-old Donald Dale were arrested after implicating one another. Police say all four face murder charges. Officers stayed at the Edenfield home into the night to secure evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just were praying and hoping that he was going to come home alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

ROSSETER: Close friends say Christopher was a sweet child, very shy, even withdrawn at times, and had been warned by his grandmother about the Edenfields. They say he never would have gone willingly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why I don't understand nobody could hear him screaming or anything or see him. I just don't understand.

ROSSETER: Several people told us George Edenfield was childlike and would watch the children as they got off the school bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like that, really, they need to do background checks on them before they put them in a mobile home park full of kids or whatever. Do a background check on them and put them out in the woods if that's where they need to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Amanda Rosseter joins us now from Brunswick. Amanda, just devastating story. The four suspects who are now in custody, what's next for them?

ROSSETER: Well, at this point, they are being held on different charges. Those formal murder charges haven't come yet. I spoke at length, Tony, just a few minutes ago with the district attorney here, D.A. Stephen Kelley, and he tells me that he is still going through all the evidence. In fact, he says that police are still over at the mobile home park today collecting all of that evidence. He'll likely spend the weekend going through all of it. And then will formally file those charges come Monday or Tuesday - Tony?

HARRIS: Amanda Rosseter for us this morning. Amanda, thank you.

COLLINS: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, back together, doctor and patient. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains to an Iraq war vet how he helped save his life. That's coming up, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Tony Harris and Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: Criminal and entirely avoidable. That ruling this morning concerning a U.S. attack that killed a British soldier in Iraq. Lance corporal Matty Hull died when U.S. pilots mistakenly fired on his convoy in southern Iraq in 2003.

A coroner ruled the friendly fire incident was an unlawful killing. He also blasted the U.S., accusing officials of not cooperating. The U.S. initially refused to release a cockpit recording of the incident, but it was eventually passed on to British authorities and leaked to a British newspaper. The coroner's ruling is not legally blinding and will not lead to prosecution of the pilots.

In the last four years, the Iraq's bloody civil war has cost thousands of civilian lives. More than 34,000 last year alone. Sunni insurgents launched terror attacks. Shia militias torture and murder. This weekend on CNN's Special Investigation's Unit a startling new report by John Roberts about rogue Shia death squads operating deep within Iraq's government security forces. They are so great a problem that Iraq's Ministry of Interior says it's launched major efforts to combat them and U.S. forces on the ground also cracking down. Here's a segment from "Death Squads." A warning, it includes graphic images.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): March 2002. A video of Sunni sheik condemned Sarheed (ph) in happier times. One of his five sons is getting married. And this is the sheik's home today. After dozens of uniformed men burst in. It is now a house of six widows. The children without fathers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The oldest is six years old. Why has this happened to us?

ROBERTS: It happened in November 2005. Anid was asleep in her parent's bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I was asleep. I heard a gunshot. So I got up to talk to my dad, then they came into our room and they shot daddy. I told them not to kill my father but the men told me to shut up and threatened to hit me.

ROBERTS: In all, five men were executed that night. The groom had been killed three weeks earlier. After a year, the six widows still will not go into their bedrooms. So a child takes Abdullah. The boy knows every bullet hole in every bedroom.

A neighbor took this footage hours after the massacre. One of the widows says her husband, a policeman, recognized the gunmen as fellow officers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He grabbed one of them by the hand. He told them that he was a policeman like them. He said, "I am with you, I am with you." But they shot him in the stomach.

ROBERTS: The massacre of this prominent family sent shockwaves through this predominantly Sunni neighborhood. Witnesses insist the killers were in uniform and arrived in 10 official vehicles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Senior national correspondent John Roberts joining us now from Washington. Boy, John, putting a face on that story for us certainly. Take us back. How did all of this begin? It seems like every day we're reporting on the violence between the Sunnis and the Shia.

ROBERTS: It's tough stuff to watch no question, Heidi. This all began in that period between the Coalition Provisional Authority relinquishing control and the new Iraqi government that has been stood up during that transitional period where these ministries were being set up, they were setting up police forces. It is in the commando section of the national police force where it's believed that most of these death squads reside. And Iraqi officials, mostly of the Sunni sect, point fingers at a fellow named Bayan Jabber (ph). He was originally the minister of housing and construction then became the minister of the interior. And it was during his time in interior that these death squads really flourished. We interviewed Bayan Jaber and he said, look, I had nothing to do with this. We tried to root out some of the corruption, some of the infiltration in the National Police Forces.

And since that time, Jawad Al Balanny (ph) who is the new minister of the interior, has actually cracked down. You may remember back in the early part of the fall, the 8th Brigade of the national police was actually taken off the streets after it was believed they had been heavily infiltrated by militia members and had created a number of death squads. So the Iraqi government trying to do something about it but many fingers being pointed at this fellow Bayan Jabber who is now currently the Iraqi minister of finance.

COLLINS: Well, when we talk about what the interior ministry is doing trying to crack down on all of this, what specifically can they do? I mean, it seems like obviously a very well organized squad.

ROBERTS: It's very difficult. It was believed that at one point in the national police forces that 1 in 70 members was somehow connected to a militia. If not an actual militia member themselves, knew someone who was or had some sort of relationship with other people who might be in a militia. It's a long and difficult process of weeding these forces out because they were stood up so quickly that they -- I don't want to say that the recruiting wasn't what it should have been, but so many people were coming into the police forces at the same time that the vetting process was difficult. They're trying to go through now and revet all of those people. Though it remains very, very difficult.

I was there back in October and November. I watched a graduation of a police brigade. And this was after the 8th had been taken off for re-training. And one of the officers, an American officer, who was sort of a liaison, despairingly whispered to his colleagues as his class was walking away, there goes the greatest threat to Iraqi security, the Iraqi National Police. COLLINS: Alright, well John, we'll be watching, and will remind everyone else as well. "CNN Special Investigations Unit: Death Squads" this Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. John Roberts, thanks.

HARRIS: A wounded Iraq war vet given a new chance at life after combat surgery. But that Marine is now facing new battles on the home front. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is where it began, on a battlefield in Iraq. Fifty-two minutes after a sniper's bullet sent shrapnel exploding into his brain, my path would converge with 24-year-old Jesus Vidana.

We first met in a dusty, desert tent in a makeshift O.R.

(on camera) I feel like giving you a hug. How are you?

(voice-over) We've reunited since that night. But this was the first time I told him in detail how he was saved.

(on camera) These are the staples. That's where they actually closed the skin. But all this area of brain around here was hit ad blasted, if you will, a bit by the bullet.

We were able to get the blood collection off. Remove some of the damaged brain to get that bullet out of there and stop all the bleeding.

We had nothing to cover up the outside of your brain with. So we found the only sterile thing in that entire dusty desert camp tent, which was an I.V. bag. And I basically put the sterile part against your brain, and I sewed it all the way around here.

I didn't think you were going to survive that. I didn't think you were going to live through that.

JESUS VIDANA, MARINE: I mean, they told me I had two operations.

GUPTA (voice-over): Four years later, Jesus is no longer haunted by that gunfight but something worse.

VIDANA: I do consider myself lucky to be alive. You know? But I have felt like, you know, it would have been better had I not lived just because, you know, like, every day's a struggle with the depression. Depression just comes. You know? Unexpectedly. And with a fury.

GUPTA (on camera): What does that mean?

VIDANA: I just feel like I just need to get away from everything. I just want to crawl into some cave and just -- just shut myself off from the world, you know?

GUPTA (voice-over): Depression could be a consequence of his injury or the remnants of post-traumatic stress disorder. His doctors aren't sure.

What they do know: traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, are persistent, elusive injuries in this war. And many vets with those injuries feel the V.A. system is ill-equipped to handle them.

(on camera) Is there a premium at all placed on mental illness at the V.A.?

VIDANA: I don't know how much importance they place on it, to be honest.

GUPTA (voice-over): A new report by the American Psychological Association points to major shortcomings in the military mental health system, in caring for troops and their families.

Jesus is an exception. His mental health care is good, for now. It's the future that worries him.

At first, his benefits dropped: from full coverage, to none at all. For months, he fought to restore them. And now, they're back up to 70 percent.

He has another fear: complications from his depression and medications could require care later and that might not be covered.

(on camera) You're a guy who was shot in the head, in Iraq.

VIDANA: Yes.

GUPTA: I guess, you know -- part of me just as a citizen would say, whatever the cost, whatever -- whatever it takes, we're going to take care of this guy.

VIDANA: Yes.

GUPTA: I mean, he did everything for his country, including almost died. What does this country owe you?

VIDANA: I want to say just to be able to -- just like returning back, you know, just the respect and the dignity that, you know, people with disability, would like -- would like to receive. You know?

GUPTA: Are you not getting that?

VIDANA: I would say I am. But it's just like I said, just dealing with the bureaucracies, it's sometimes a little taxing.

GUPTA (voice-over): Jesus is lucky. He's in relatively good physical health. He fends off depression by attending a V.A.- sponsored support group for victims of traumatic brain injury. And he also takes an antidepressant.

(on camera) Are you optimistic about this future?

VIDANA: I am, actually. I am optimistic. GUPTA: His hope for that future: a relationship, maybe children, a return to a normal life. He's moving forward because Jesus knows what happened that night in Iraq can never be undone.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm meteorologist Chad Myers here in the Weather Center. Big-time snow event happening for parts of the northeast. A sleet event and a rain event for others. I'll tell you what big cities get affected and how bad it will be, coming right up. Here's a picture of New York City. Can't see across the park now. Snow is picking up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

MYERS: In my ear, I just heard that all JetBlue airplanes have been canceled out of JFK today. And we also knew that the planes this morning were leaving, but yet no JFK planes were coming back. So we knew if they didn't have any planes at JFK to take off, they weren't going to do anything so they canceled them all now.

This is another thing that we had. This is the White Plains airport in Westchester County. Had a plane slide off the runway. And now we have all these planes circling here, waiting for this plane to get pulled out of the way. It was just -- it just slid off the runway on taxiing on the way back to the terminal. So it didn't slide off because of a bad landing. It was actually landed, made a safe landing and then slid off. So now we've got some people out there that are kind of stuck. If you had plans to head to White Plains today, you probably will be diverted.

Here's what your snow fall forecast looks like, at least it's a quick fling. If you have a later on, probably Oakland or up. Here's the snow --everywhere you see this dark purple, that's a foot of snow or more. Notice, very little New York City. Not a foot, certainly not. And if you further to the east, it's going to be a lot of the rain event.

But you get back here, you want to go skiing, in Rutland today, you want to go to Killington or Mount Pocono, now's the time to go. But you need to be careful because the roads are getting slick. Temperature's down to 29. Back to you guys.

COLLINS: All right, Chad. Thank you very much.

MYERS: Your welcome.

COLLINS: New sanctions. Iran's not budging on its nuclear program and its president has something to say to the U.N. A live report ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Iran vows to continue its nuclear program, even as the U.N. threatens new sanctions.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is in Tehran, tallying the cost of defiance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is no easy stroll into Tehran's main market. Just days remain until Norouz, Iran's new year and everyone it seems, is here, buying gifts at once. But this year, the traditional new year's optimism is tempered by everyday reality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people can't buy anything they wanted.

RAMAN (on camera): Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the payment is very low. And I'm teaching in English but my payment was very low and I can't buy everything that I need.

RAMAN (voice-over): Inflation here is up. Salaries are stagnant. A new round of U.N. sanctions looms, triggered by the west's anxiety over Iran's nuclear program.

(on camera): The market right now is teeming with people. And while they've got other things on their minds, Iranians only have to look as far as their wallet to be reminded of the country's nuclear ambition.

This is a new currency note. It went out just a few days ago. It is worth about five-and-a-half U.S. dollars. But on the back, over a map of Iran, is an atomic symbol, below it, a message about the importance f scientific achievement.

(voice-over): Nardir (ph) has been selling Persian carpets for 17 years. This year, business is down. But spirits, he says are up. And there's less concern that Iran's nuclear push will propel the country into war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The worry among people has subsided. There was much more concern at the end of last year because the United States was moving its military into the Persian Gulf.

RAMAN: By day and by night, among all Iranians we met, fear has given way to hope that a new year will bring a new dynamic between Iran and the world. Especially after the U.S. and Iran met face-to- face last week at a regional conference in Iraq.

FAHED (ph): It's a good start. They sit together, America and Iranians have to sit together and discuss.

JAFUR (ph): Hopefully, in the next meeting, in Turkey, maybe they'll have another meeting.

RAMAN: But there's no doubt who should take the first step. Just ask Jafur's friend, Fahed.

FAHED: Discussion and corporation, also, they have to understand each other. Unfortunately, American government doesn't understand Iranian people. What nature of.

RAMAN: Among the people, support for nuclear energy still seems universal. But so does a desire for their own government to do whatever it takes to restore prosperity. So that in the new year people can buy whatever they want.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Aneesh Raman joining us now live from Tehran, via broadband.

Aneesh, are we hearing now that Ahmadinejad may actually be going before the United Nations Security Council?

RAMAN: Yes, Heidi, it seems all but certain that he'll appear before the U.N. Security Council, perhaps as early as next week. We know that the Visas have been put in. We're getting early word they'll be accepted, and he is bringing an entourage with him.

We're not expecting anything new in terms of significance in his statements. He'll reiterate existing policy that Iran is going to pursue civilian nuclear technology, that it is Iran's right to do so.

But there is some growing criticism within Iran about this trip. Some reformist newspapers have questioned, first, why Ahmadinejad is speaking to the security council, because he's already called it illegitimate before. And they're raising concerns that he might add fuel to the fire.

So everyone here, at least, is going to be watching to see what he says if he does, in fact, speak next week at the U.N.

Heidi.

COLLINS: What about support for this trip, Aneesh?

RAMAN: Yes, it's starting to fracture, we're seeing there. The one thing to keep in mind is that there is broad-based support among Iranians for this nuclear program. They feel, in essence, it is their right to do so. We've heard from some foreign policy advisers within the government as well.

Look, Iran has suspended this program before to no avail. So there's still that impasse in terms of negotiations in suspension. But among the people, when you talk about sanctions, they roll their eyes. They've had them for years now, since the Islamic Revolution. What they want more than anything else is that economic change at home, and as much as that impacts it here, they want it to help the economy.

Heidi.

COLLINS: Understood, all right, Aneesh Raman, live from Tehran today, Aneesh, thank you.

HARRIS: The bags are packed but some flyers are going nowhere fast, particularly if you are trying to fly out of New York with JetBlue. That airline cancelling 210 flights in all. The late winter storm in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues, just one hour from now.

HARRIS: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next with news happening across the globe and here at home. I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins. Have a terrific weekend, everybody.

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